Why maintain a website and keep WordPress core, theme and plugins up-to-date?
Most WordPress websites are hacked due to outdated versions of plugins, themes and of course WordPress core itself. Plugins and theme updates often require the latest version of WordPress.
WordPress and its plugins and themes are like any other software installed on your computer, or like any other application on your devices. There are thousands of plugins and themes publicly available on WordPress.org and other third-party websites. Developers regularly release updates which provide new features or fix known bugs.
It is important to keep your website updated due to security reasons! Plugin vulnerabilities are the easiest way for hackers to gain access to your website.
What can go wrong while upgrading WordPress?
There is always a risk of compatibility issues. With WordPress and the variety of third-party themes and plugins increases that risk. It is possible that after an upgrade, a particular theme or plugin will no longer work properly and/or cause errors on your website. There is also the threat of software bugs which can come in many shapes and sizes. A bug could be massive which might restrict users from using a plugin or it could be a very small and only concern a certain part of a theme. But in some cases, bugs can be of serious menace to security. That is why it is recommended to clone your website and test updates first.
Are you ready to update your WordPress website?
- Complete a full site backup. If anything goes wrong, you’ll want to be able to restore your website. If you modified any source files when you upgrade, all of the relevant core, theme, and plugin files will be overwritten. You should keep your modifications saved in a text file, with notes on which files to apply them to and where they need to be applied.
2. Update Themes and plugins Before Upgrading WordPress. The themes and plugins can be updated manually or automatically, depending on the client requirement.
3. Make sure everything still works as expected. You can also clone your website and test updates first.
If you are using a caching plugin, you may need to clear the cache, or temporarily deactivate it, in order to check everything properly.
It is quite evident that the update can be done in several ways and one should always opt for the one click and automatic methods as they are simpler, quicker and less likely to be a source of errors. However, updating manually is still an option and, sometimes, it is the only one, so it is also important to know how to conduct it.
Detailed instruction from WordPress: https://codex.wordpress.org/Upgrading_WordPress_-_Extended_Instructions